SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, convicted of seven felonies this week, could collect as much as $98,010 in yearly pension payments, according to one Albany watchdog.
State law allows Silver, 71, to collect that pension despite the conviction. Federal prosecutors, however, are likely to try to garnish those payments as a part of Silver’s sentence.
Silver has worked for the government for 44 years, according to the state comptroller’s office. The Empire Center, a conservative government watchdog group, used that information to factor Silver’s estimated pension at $98,010.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders struck a deal to change the state’s constitution to strip pension payments from convicted public officials. The change is a multi-year process, and it already has hit a snag.
This spring, both the Assembly and Senate passed budget bills containing the pension-stripping language.
But the chambers could not agree on a companion piece of legislation – the actual amendment to the state’s constitution – also needed. That was left unresolved at the end of the 2015 session.
That doesn’t mean the issue is dead. To keep it alive, lawmakers need to pass pension-stripping amendment in 2016 and again in 2017. Then, the amendment would go to the voters.
Silver was forced to vacate his Assembly seat on Monday after a federal jury found him guilty on seven counts related to corruption. Silver’s lawyers have said they plan to appeal. No additional court date has been set.
© 2015 Syracuse Post-Standard